I Was Gonna Write About The Quasi-Scandals In Washington, Then Something More Important Came Up

Morehouse College in Atlanta is an all-male, historically black college that can trace its founding back to 1867, a time when America was trying to put itself back together after racists and racism had torn it apart.

You may have missed it, since most journalists these days are focused on other things, but President Obama actually gave an important, and highly personal, speech on Sunday, a speech addressed to the 500 or so black men who graduated from Morehouse this year, the same college that sent Martin Luther King, Jr., into the world as an educated man with a mission to improve that world.

About Dr. King, the President said,

his education at Morehouse helped to forge the intellect, the discipline, the compassion, the soul force that would transform America.  It was here that he was introduced to the writings of Gandhi and Thoreau, and the theory of civil disobedience.  It was here that professors encouraged him to look past the world as it was and fight for the world as it should be.  And it was here, at Morehouse, as Dr. King later wrote, where “I realized that nobody…was afraid.”

That special college, the President said, is where,

young Martin learned to be unafraid.  And he, in turn, taught others to be unafraid.  And over time, he taught a nation to be unafraid.  And over the last 50 years, thanks to the moral force of Dr. King and a Moses generation that overcame their fear and their cynicism and their despair, barriers have come tumbling down, and new doors of opportunity have swung open, and laws and hearts and minds have been changed to the point where someone who looks just like you can somehow come to serve as President of these United States of America.

While all that is true enough and powerful enough, it is the example of Dr. King’s willingness “to look past the world as it was and fight for the world as it should be” that has been the theme running through these types of speeches the President has given, when he is obviously speaking to black audiences. “There are some things, as black men, we can only do for ourselves,” Mr. Obama insisted.

Among those things are taking care of “those still left behind.” Quoting social activist and scholar and minister—and former president of Morehouse College—Dr. Benjamin Mays, President Obama said,

Live up to President Mays’s challenge.  Be “sensitive to the wrongs, the sufferings, and the injustices of society.”  And be “willing to accept responsibility for correcting [those] ills.”

The President told these graduates that planning a future that involves making money is okay, that “no one expects you to take a vow of poverty.” But, he added,

it betrays a poverty of ambition if all you think about is what goods you can buy instead of what good you can do.

That line, that sentiment, that call to contribute to the well-being of America, is, of course, not just something that only black men graduating from a prestigious liberal arts college in Atlanta need to hear. All of us need to hear it. However, we must not kid ourselves. These particular black men, hearing such a call from President Obama, hear something a little different from what the rest of us might hear.

These men know the poverty around them in black communities. They know the crime that infects places where young men, men not as fortunate as Morehouse graduates, actually live and die. And they have heard the criticism from white conservatives and the alibis from white liberals, the condemnations and the rationalizations from both sides, as they try to explain what is wrong with those communities and how to fix it.

Not often, though, have they heard words like the following, coming as they did from the most powerful man in the world, a man with the credentials, both genetic and experiential, that no other president has ever had:

We know that too many young men in our community continue to make bad choices.  And I have to say, growing up, I made quite a few myself.  Sometimes I wrote off my own failings as just another example of the world trying to keep a black man down.  I had a tendency sometimes to make excuses for me not doing the right thing.  But one of the things that all of you have learned over the last four years is there’s no longer any room for excuses.   

I understand there’s a common fraternity creed here at Morehouse: “Excuses are tools of the incompetent used to build bridges to nowhere and monuments of nothingness.”  Well, we’ve got no time for excuses.  Not because the bitter legacy of slavery and segregation have vanished entirely; they have not.  Not because racism and discrimination no longer exist; we know those are still out there.  It’s just that in today’s hyper-connected  hyper-competitive world, with millions of young people from China and India and Brazil — many of whom started with a whole lot less than all of you did — all of them entering the global workforce alongside you, nobody is going to give you anything that you have not earned. 

Nobody cares how tough your upbringing was.  Nobody cares if you suffered some discrimination.  And moreover, you have to remember that whatever you’ve gone through, it pales in comparison to the hardships previous generations endured — and they overcame them.  And if they overcame them, you can overcome them, too.

It just wouldn’t do, given our history, for a white man to lecture black men, black men who had just earned college degrees, in such a way. It wouldn’t do. Nor would it do for a white man, even the President of the United States, to related to black men in this way:

Every one of you have a grandma or an uncle or a parent who’s told you that at some point in life, as an African American, you have to work twice as hard as anyone else if you want to get by. 

And that’s the point here, isn’t it? Why should it be, here in 21st century America, that such a sentiment is still alive among black folks? Why should black men, or women, still be told to “work twice as hard as anyone else if you want to get by”? Because, as sad as it is to admit, it still rings true. And as sad as it is to say it, part of the reason is related to the the disorganization and dysfunction of black families in America:

I was raised by a heroic single mom, wonderful grandparents — made incredible sacrifices for me.  And I know there are moms and grandparents here today who did the same thing for all of you.  But I sure wish I had had a father who was not only present, but involved.  Didn’t know my dad.  And so my whole life, I’ve tried to be for Michelle and my girls what my father was not for my mother and me.  I want to break that cycle where a father is not at home — (applause) — where a father is not helping to raise that son or daughter.  I want to be a better father, a better husband, a better man.

It’s hard work that demands your constant attention and frequent sacrifice.  And I promise you, Michelle will tell you I’m not perfect.  She’s got a long list of my imperfections.  Even now, I’m still practicing, I’m still learning, still getting corrected in terms of how to be a fine husband and a good father.  But I will tell you this:  Everything else is unfulfilled if we fail at family, if we fail at that responsibility.  

I know that when I am on my deathbed someday, I will not be thinking about any particular legislation I passed; I will not be thinking about a policy I promoted; I will not be thinking about the speech I gave, I will not be thinking the Nobel Prize I received.  I will be thinking about that walk I took with my daughters.  I’ll be thinking about a lazy afternoon with my wife. I’ll be thinking about sitting around the dinner table and seeing them happy and healthy and knowing that they were loved.  And I’ll be thinking about whether I did right by all of them.

So be a good role model, set a good example for that young brother coming up.  If you know somebody who’s not on point, go back and bring that brother along — those who’ve been left behind, who haven’t had the same opportunities we have — they need to hear from you.  You’ve got to be engaged on the barbershops, on the basketball court, at church, spend time and energy and presence to give people opportunities and a chance.  Pull them up, expose them, support their dreams.  Don’t put them down. 

We’ve got to teach them just like what we have to learn, what it means to be a man…

He insisted that, “as you do these things, do them not just for yourself,” or for only “the African American community,” because,

I want you to set your sights higher.  At the turn of the last century, W.E.B. DuBois spoke about the “talented tenth” — a class of highly educated, socially conscious leaders in the black community.  But it’s not just the African American community that needs you.  The country needs you.  The world needs you. 

The world needs them, the President declared, because,

many of you know what it’s like to be an outsider; know what it’s like to be marginalized; know what it’s like to feel the sting of discrimination.  And that’s an experience that a lot of Americans share.  Hispanic Americans know that feeling when somebody asks them where they come from or tell them to go back.  Gay and lesbian Americans feel it when a stranger passes judgment on their parenting skills or the love that they share.  Muslim Americans feel it when they’re stared at with suspicion because of their faith.  Any woman who knows the injustice of earning less pay for doing the same work — she knows what it’s like to be on the outside looking in.

So your experiences give you special insight that today’s leaders need.  If you tap into that experience, it should endow you with empathy — the understanding of what it’s like to walk in somebody else’s shoes, to see through their eyes, to know what it’s like when you’re not born on 3rd base, thinking you hit a triple.  It should give you the ability to connect.  It should give you a sense of compassion and what it means to overcome barriers. 

And I will tell you, Class of 2013, whatever success I have achieved, whatever positions of leadership I have held have depended less on Ivy League degrees or SAT scores or GPAs, and have instead been due to that sense of connection and empathy — the special obligation I felt, as a black man like you, to help those who need it most, people who didn’t have the opportunities that I had — because there but for the grace of God, go I — I might have been in their shoes.  I might have been in prison.  I might have been unemployed.  I might not have been able to support a family.  And that motivates me.  

So it’s up to you to widen your circle of concern — to care about justice for everybody, white, black and brown. Everybody.  Not just in your own community, but also across this country and around the world.  To make sure everyone has a voice, and everybody gets a seat at the table; that everybody, no matter what you look like or where you come from, what your last name is — it doesn’t matter, everybody gets a chance to walk through those doors of opportunity if they are willing to work hard enough. 

Yes, I know there was criticism of President Obama’s remarks. And I’m sure there will be more. But if he can’t say these things to newly-educated black men, if he can’t challenge an elite group of black graduates to do more for their communities and country than just “get that fancy job and the nice house and the nice car — and never look back,” or if he can’t tell them to “be a good role model, set a good example for that young brother coming up,” then who can?

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28 Comments

  1. Duane,

    Obama’s speech was no doubt pitch perfect for the black community. Problem is, he was singing to the choir. I have no doubt that the graduates of Moorehouse College will acquit themselves well in their lives going forward. They will surely be responsible citizens and make important contributions to society. So, they don’t really need the encouragement of a black president. As college graduates, they are already high on the ladder to a life of success.

    In my view, President Obama’s speech should be given to the disproportionately high numbers in the black community who are irresponsible, who have lost the value of a nuclear family, who replace education with drugs and gangs and guns, and who are fueled with hate by Gangsta Rap to take on Whitey. It is estimated that 70% of all African American infants are born to unwed mothers and that 28% of all African American males will be in prison at some point in their lifetime. They have the highest incidence of drug use, are chronically unemployed, and live in poor neighborhoods with little chance of escape.

    And, unfornately, it is these members of the black community who have created a negative stereotype. Let’s face it, you feel much more comfortable walking down a dark street when two black men in suits are walking toward you than two black teenagers wearing “Black Power” t-shirts.

    I don’t know how to turn back all the years of racism, but it has to start in the black communities. The black leaders — Rev, Sharpton, Jesse Jackson — need to quit playing the blame game and continually stirring the pot. Blacks would be well advised instead to read Bill Cosby’s “Come on, People: On the Path from Victims to Victors.” Coauthored with Alven F. Poussaint, M.D., of Harvard, Cosby argues that, “black strength lies in our resolve to keep on keeping on… never yielding to the role of cooperative victim.”

    There has never been nor will there ever be equality. But there is fairness and cooperation and compromise. Those are values all races could strive for.

    Herb

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    • Herb,

      While it’s true that Obama was “preaching to the choir” at Moorehouse, but it’s hard for me to imagine a better example, a better symbol, of what’s possible than that which the president is setting, both by precept and example. And yes, you’re right to cite Bill Cosby whose “tough love” message has been pioneering, but I think it’s unrealistic to expect too much, too fast. We have come a long, long way since “I Spy” and “Guess Who’s Coming To Dinner”, not to mention since Jim Crowe.

      I completely agree that the unwed-mother birth rate is a root cause of the problems you mention (or maybe a root symptom?), but given that few of the young, black males who need to hear the speech never will directly, seems to me the next best thing for those Moorehouse graduates and all the other increasing numbers of educated blacks is to be inspired by it and spread the message.

      It’s probably unrealistic to expect black leaders to pretend that significant discrimination doesn’t still exist. It does. Things might change in that regard as a new generation takes hold and the pioneers fade away. Meanwhile, though, white culture is getting worse, not better. Recent reports put the overall unwed-mother stats (all races) at about 50/50, and that’s really bad. Is it not interesting that this is happening even as women demand equality of opportunity with men in business and even the military? By forgoing marriage and ignoring the natural burden that birth puts on the female they are sacrificing their own financial stability and the psychological health of their children.

      Like

      • Jim,

        I suppose the only way to eliminate racism is to eliminate the races. That’s already going on, in fact, as inter-racial marriage is becoming more prevalent these days. According to a Pew Research Center study, they’ve more than doubled in the last two decades so that now, 1 out of every 12 marriages is a mixed race marriage. Unfortunately, it will be many more generations before racism becomes a bad memory.

        In the meantime, the animus toward whites from the black community continues unabated. That’s why I made the comment about Sharpton and Jackson stirring the pot. Case in point is the Travor Martin shooting in Sanford, FL. Through my son who was living there at the time, I met a deputy sheriff who was all too familiar with the case. According to him, it was open and shut. Martin attacked Zimmerman, who had to shoot Martin to keep him from bashing his brains out. The thing festered a couple of months, until Travon’s mother called the NAACP. And the rest as the say. . . So George Zimmerman may end up going to prison because the offender was black and not white, in which case, we would never have heard of it. In fact, you rarely hear of black on white crimes, but the white on black crimes make the headlines.

        I suppose that’s what bothers me the most. Whites have to be politically correct when talking about blacks else they are branded racists. But the same criticism of whites by blacks is not racist. Just love hypocrisy, don’t you?

        Herb

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        • Herb,

          You completely ignored the part of the Zimmerman case where he was following Travon Martin for no other reason than he was a black kid with a hoodie on. His dad lived in that complex and he had every right to be there, yet Zimmerman, zealous as some kind of neighborhood watch enforcer, took it upon himself to start this whole thing. If Zimmerman had simply reported Martin to the police and went about his business, we wouldn’t be having this conversation and Travon Martin would still be alive.

          And perhaps your deputy “who was all too familiar with the case” was all too familiar with it in a way that prejudiced his view of it. That is part of the problem, Herb. Folks get “all too familiar” with things and that familiarity breeds contempt or blinds them to facts they would otherwise see.

          And I don’t know what blacks you are around, but I don’t find the “animus towards whites” that you do. Sure, there are those black folks who resent whites or who rebel against a white-dominated culture. But they are small in comparison to those who, in one way or another, are just trying to make a living and get by somehow.

          Finally, I find it hilarious that after hundreds of years of white folks calling blacks names like “nigger,” after hundreds of years of oppression, supported by many cultural norms, that it offends your sensibilities to have to be a little careful how you discuss these topics. Geeze, Herb.

          Duane

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          • King Beauregard

             /  May 21, 2013

            About Trayvon Martin … just imagine, for a moment, that it wasn’t Trayvon Martin but rather Travis Martin, a white kid with a hoodie. George Zimmerman sees this (white) kid he doesn’t recognize, and starts trailing him. Travis tries to shake the man who’s following him, eventually confronts him, and is killed in the ensuing fight. How on earth doesn’t George Zimmerman sound like a crazy man in this scenario? “Wait, is that a kid I don’t recognize …? He must be up to something! Better tail him!”

            If Zimmerman sounds significantly less crazy to you when he’s following black Trayvon instead of white Travis, that reveals something about you.

            Like

          • Duane,

            About the Zimmerman case, I resent the implication that I am a racist or that Sanford, FL., law enforcement personnel are racist. It’s apparent that you are NOT “all too familiar with the case,” else your comments would be quite different. You passion for what you perceive as injustice has trumped your critical thinking skills.

            Facts are not black or white. Yes, Zimmerman was apparently trying to be a big shot neighborhood watchman. Nothing illegal about that. Yes, he should have listened to the 911 operator and walked away instead of following Martin. But he didn’t and that’s not illegal either. He may have assumed (mistakenly or not) that a guy meandering around a housing complex at night, wearing a hoody is up to no good. (There’s that stereotype at work.) Again nothing illegal there. In fact, Zimmerman was so concerned about this guy that he went to his car for a gun, for which he had a permit to carry, and thusly, not illegal. He may have confronted Martin, may have even directed a derogatory remark or two to him. But they both have free speech protection. So far, so good. No laws were broken.

            At issue of course is who started punching who first. That would be illegal – an assault. It was apparent from witnesses (and from my source in Sanford) that Martin was beating the hell out of Zimmerman. Forensic photos of Trevon, the ones we’ve seen so far, show that his only injuries were to his fists. Witnesses also say Martin was on top of Zimmerman, apparently slugging away, and that is consistent with Zimmerman’s injuries. So, Zimmerman shoots in what I think most reasonable people looking at these same circumstances would call self-defense. And probably would if these two were both white or both black.

            Now, this is obviously a tragedy for Martin’s family, not to mention Travon. However, at the time of the incident law enforcement could find no evidence of a crime and so no charges were filed. But a black teenager was shot and killed by a white-hispanic man and somebody has to pay, somebody has to be held accountable. It can’t be one of those “shit happens” events, a tragic accident, God’s will. No sireee.

            So, here come Jesse and Al and other black leaders descending on city hall, demanding action, whipping up a kind of frenzy. Spike Lee even tweeted Zimmerman’s home address, which is bad enough in itself, but it was the wrong goddamed address! Would this ever in a million years be done if Zimmerman was black??? Talk about your burning crosses! But this is what happens sometimes, not always, when the black leaders do little more than polarize the community. And, that’s my point, Duane. Playing the victim card will only work so long; as Bill Cosby so wisely reminded his black brethren and sisteren.

            Sorry, but this case is strictly about race. The Martins are not seeking justice, they want a scapegoat, someone they can vent their anger on. I totally understand that. But this is the wrong case. Zimmerman’s life has already been ruined. And now he faces prison. A sacrifice on the alter of racism.

            Herb

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            • Herb,

              Speaking of something trumping one’s “critical thinking skills,” I am at a loss to figure out how you came to the conclusion that I implied you, or your cop friend, are “racist.”

              I first noted that you “ignored” a critical element in the Zimmerman case. Then I noted that the deputy’s imagined familiarity with the case blinded him to what some of us find the essential element involved: If Zimmerman hadn’t been playing neighborhood cop, if he hadn’t suspected, without the slightest evidence except his appearance, that Travon Martin was up to no good, then we wouldn’t be having this discussion.

              I remind you of what you initially wrote that stirred my response:

              Through my son who was living there at the time, I met a deputy sheriff who was all too familiar with the case. According to him, it was open and shut. Martin attacked Zimmerman, who had to shoot Martin to keep him from bashing his brains out.

              First of all, to assert that this is an “open and shut” case is ridiculous. There are lots of reasons, many of which you list, to open this case and not shut it until everything is known. There was a loss of life here, a loss of life that many of us believe should never have happened. It’s nice that your deputy sheriff is free to play judge and jury on his own time, but he’s not legally entitled to do so as part of his official duties. That’s why we have courts, which are designed to find facts and attempt to get at the truth, as much of it as we can.

              You said,

              At issue of course is who started punching who first. That would be illegal – an assault. It was apparent from witnesses (and from my source in Sanford) that Martin was beating the hell out of Zimmerman. Forensic photos of Trevon, the ones we’ve seen so far, show that his only injuries were to his fists. Witnesses also say Martin was on top of Zimmerman, apparently slugging away, and that is consistent with Zimmerman’s injuries. So, Zimmerman shoots in what I think most reasonable people looking at these same circumstances would call self-defense. And probably would if these two were both white or both black.

              Let me see. To refute your conclusion that “most reasonable people looking at these same circumstances” would call this “self defense,” I’ll use your own words. You admit,

              1. “Yes, Zimmerman was apparently trying to be a big shot neighborhood watchman.”

              2. “Yes, he should have listened to the 911 operator and walked away instead of following Martin.”

              3. “He may have assumed (mistakenly or not) that a guy meandering around a housing complex at night, wearing a hoody is up to no good. (There’s that stereotype at work.)”

              4. “He may have confronted Martin, may have even directed a derogatory remark or two to him.”

              How one can conclude from those premises that the “issue of course is who started punching who first” is beyond my understanding. Yes, the fact that Travon Martin may have been beating Zimmerman is an issue, but it is not the only issue. Since we have previously discussed all this (including the “Stand Your Ground” law) at length in other posts, I won’t go into the details again.

              But I do want to end with something else you wrote:

              Sorry, but this case is strictly about race. The Martins are not seeking justice, they want a scapegoat, someone they can vent their anger on. I totally understand that. But this is the wrong case. Zimmerman’s life has already been ruined. And now he faces prison. A sacrifice on the alter of racism.

              So, you started out by resenting “the implication” that you are a racist for what I claimed was your parochial look at this tragedy. Then you ended with an assertion that, by implication, I am a racist for arguing that there is more to the case than you are willing to admit.

              Hmm.

              Duane

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              • Duane,

                Sorry for the delay, but I had to be in OKC yesterday (23rd). Anyway, here is my response to some of what you wrote.

                First, as I’ve said may times, critical thinking will sometimes take you to places you’d rather not go. If you look at all the facts in this case and only changed one thing, that Travon Martin was white, I believe you’ll come to the same objective conclusion I have, along with the Sanford law enforcement folks after their investigation, that this was tragedy resulting from self-defense. If you would stop looking at the case through the lens of racism, you may finally get what I’ve been trying to say.

                I took great pains to condition all the events – those you listed above – as legal. Unless we’ve devolved into an Orwellian state, it is still not illegal to charge someone with what they are thinking. OK, so Zimmerman wants to be a big shot (no pun intended) security guard. That is totally irrelevant as are all the other events leading up to the confrontation. Under our system of law, Duane, it’s only certain actions that can be illegal, not thoughts. You of all people should know that “all to well.”

                You also don’t know jack about my son’s friend who has more knowledge that you or I about this case. You can jump me all you want, but you’re way out of bounds to impose your judgment regarding biases he may or may not have.

                Well, we’ve about beat this poor horse to death. I just think it is reprehensible that the black community would bring down the full wrath of 400 years of their slavery and mistreatment and denial of civil and human rights down upon the concrete-sidewalk-scarred head of George Zimmerman. They have set themselves up for what reasonable people in that community, like Bill Cosby and others, have argued against – victimization.

                I just wonder how extensive the riots will be if George Zimmerman is found not guilty. Hopefully, it won’t be as destructive as the one in LA following the not guilty verdict in the trial of the cops who beat the living crap out of Rodney King. Or maybe this jury will think about that possibility before rendering a verdict. And the racial divide continues on.

                Herb

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                • King Beauregard

                   /  May 24, 2013

                  I’d worry more about the riots if Zimmerman IS found guilty.

                  Like

                • Herb,

                  With all due respect, Shirley, why, no, I don’t think the horse is dead yet.

                  First, this paragraph:

                  You also don’t know jack about my son’s friend who has more knowledge that you or I about this case. You can jump me all you want, but you’re way out of bounds to impose your judgment regarding biases he may or may not have.

                  I don’t have to know jack about your son’s friend to claim that, despite the knowledge he may or may not have, he doesn’t get to have the final say that this is an “open and shut” case.

                  Second, this paragraph:

                  I just think it is reprehensible that the black community would bring down the full wrath of 400 years of their slavery and mistreatment and denial of civil and human rights down upon the concrete-sidewalk-scarred head of George Zimmerman. They have set themselves up for what reasonable people in that community, like Bill Cosby and others, have argued against – victimization.

                  The reason Zimmerman may or may not have a scar on his head is because he chose to ignore what he was told by the 911 operator and took things into his own hands. The legality of what he did leading up to his killing of Travon Martin—and let’s remember, he did shoot him dead—is not the issue, Herb. The issue is whether the police or DA properly dismissed this case in the way that you think it should have been dismissed: as a simple case of a black kid beating up Zimmerman and Zimmerman defending himself. If only it were that simple.

                  But, what really irks me is your assertion that for Travon Martin’s family to seek justice through a court is tantamount to them playing the “victimization” card. Goddammit, Herb. This kid was just walking through his dad’s neighborhood and next thing you know, he’s dead. That deserves, at the very least, a thorough examination, and one done by people who don’t see it as an open and shut case.

                  Finally, you said I”m “out of bounds” to impose my judgement on your son’s friend, the cop. Well, I submit to you that you’re out of bounds to impose your judgement on the authorities who decided to take a closer look and then to prosecute Zimmerman. And you’re also out of bounds to think you know what is in the minds of his parents, or anyone else who is urging justice in this case. Further, I submit that neither you nor I know what it is like to be black in this culture and it’s rather presumptuous of both of us to pretend we do. We don’t and never will. Being black in America is not the same experience as being white.

                  Thus, I caution you not to put all of your eggs in Bill Cosby’s basket, no matter how much wisdom you think, and I may agree, he is offering. To apply that wisdom to every goddamn case involving black people is ridiculous. The reason there was so much fuss about this case is the unique circumstances: a guy tries to play cop, arms himself, and then gets himself into a scrum and finally kills a kid in the process. This episode didn’t begin with Zimmerman’s head on the sidewalk, Herb. If you continue to think it is just an open and shut case, then I have overestimated your ability to reason outside your cultural box.

                  You said, “critical thinking will sometimes take you to places you’d rather not go.”  Or not. Sometimes you just pick the place you want to go and then try to use your critical thinking to justify how you got there.

                  The horse is now officially on life support, as the equine gods determine his fate.

                  Duane

                  Like

    • Herb,

      I figured a lot of folks wouldn’t touch this topic, so I give you credit for doing so in the way you did, even though I think the semi-suggestion you make–which essentially amounts to blacks pulling themselves up by their own bootstraps–is admittedly rather easy for you to make and easy for the rest of us pale-faced thinkers to endorse.

      In the end, of course, all of us have to “keep on keeping on.” None of us, except those who inherit great or even modest wealth, can afford to slack off, lest we find ourselves impoverished in one way or another. That advise doesn’t just apply to black folks, obviously, but to suggest it in the way you did (“I don’t know how to turn back all the years of racism, but it has to start in the black communities”) seems to indicate that there ain’t a whole lot of hard-working black folks out there. But I can tell you there are.

      And I can also tell you that there are a whole lot of lazy-ass white folks out there who are benefiting from the welfare system or who are “irresponsible” or “who have lost the value of a nuclear family” or “who replace education with drugs and gangs and guns.” And I can tell you that on the streets in my neighborhood, there are many more white guys than black guys walking around who scare me, if we are to—and I agree we often do—judge by looks.

      Okay, I don’t know how to fix the damage done by our racist past either. I only know that it doesn’t “start” with black leaders, as if then we whites could rush in and help these folks after they get up and on their way. It starts with a recognition, by all of us, black and white, that our troubles are not over. That there are still responsibilities this white-dominated culture has to at least continue to figure out how to fix a problem built into the system for hundreds of years and, to some important extent, is still part of it. That there is a responsibility on the part of black “leaders” (like the President, for instance) to insist on personal responsibility and to insist that those who enjoy some success in our society have an eye toward helping others who don’t. That is what this speech was about.

      You said it, Herb. There is “fairness and cooperation and compromise.” Those are values all of us ought to embrace. But in order to get cooperation and compromise, we have to ensure fairness. Some folks say that the playing field is level now and that all is fair for people of color. Hooey. You don’t fix four hundred years of oppression in fifty years of experimenting with legal “equality.” As you say, there never will be the kind of outcome equality that so many people imagine as equality. Outcomes are based on many factors, including intelligence, motivation, background, and other things beyond our control. What we have to continue to do is try to fix the things that are within our control, those systemic barriers that so many among us, especially including so many folks of color, face every day.

      My first suggestion would be to fix those “poor neighborhoods with little chance of escape” by giving folks a real chance to escape. And the best chance to escape is education, including higher education. And such an education ought not to put people so far in debt that it drags their lives down for years upon years. The best government investment to provide a means of escape from poverty is in education, most people would agree. The problem is that these days, whether it be through keeping teachers employed or in providing Pell grants, Democrats are constantly fighting the battle with Republicans to at least provide that particular way of escape.

      That shouldn’t be a fight they have to fight.

      Duane

      Like

      • Duane,

        Yes, the horse is definitely dead – lifeless, departed, deceased, no more, passed away, taking a dirt nap, perished. This is a late horse, gone to meet his mare and stallion in that big barn in the sky.

        Now you and I could keep this little back and forth going for a long time. We can parse words and sentences and paragraphs till the cows come home (or the horses). But you obviously are as set in your position as I am in mine. Although, of course, I’m right. Besides, I’m leaving here shortly to head up to your part of the woods for the Memorial Day weekend, and won’t have much time for our little tête-à-tête.

        By the way, there is some new information out about the kind of kid Trayvon Martin was. See http://usnews.nbcnews.com/_news/2013/05/23/18449794-zimmerman-defense-releases-texts-about-guns-fighting-from-trayvon-martins-phone?lite. Tip of the iceberg?

        Hmmmmm.

        Herb

        Like

        • Herb,

          I was astounded at your directing me to that link. I mean, I was astounded.

          You said,

          By the way, there is some new information out about the kind of kid Trayvon Martin was…Tip of the iceberg?

          Why was I astounded by your sending me this “new information”? Why was I so surprised at this move of yours that suggested maybe there was more “new information” and more to come? For two reasons:

          1) You had previously said:

          OK, so Zimmerman wants to be a big shot (no pun intended) security guard. That is totally irrelevant as are all the other events leading up to the confrontation. Under our system of law, Duane, it’s only certain actions that can be illegal, not thoughts. You of all people should know that “all to well.”

          You tried more than once to make the case that nothing Zimmerman did up to the shooting and killing of Trayvon Martin was relevant to the case. “All the other events leading up to the confrontation” are “totally irrelevant,” you said. All of them.

          Then you send me a link to an article  with this headline,

          Zimmerman defense releases texts about guns, fighting from Trayvon Martin’s phone,

          and suggest that this is “new information” that is somehow relevant to the case!

          Yes, the man who claims that it doesn’t matter that Zimmerman was playing cop, ignoring orders from real police officers to back off, pursing a boy who wasn’t doing anything wrong at the time, and then ended up in a confrontation in which he “defended himself” by shooting the kid he had been stalking. You said all that prior stuff is irrelevant, but you think it is relevant whether Trayvon Martin smoked dope or got into fights or had gold teeth.

          All I can say to that is, wow.

          2) I was, at first, surprised that you fell for this defense team trick. Sure, it is smart of them to release information about Trayvon Martin that may prejudice the mind of jurors against Trayvon. This stuff is done in rape cases all the time. You know, the “slut” deserved what she got. In effect, the point being made, which any judge worth his or her robes would reject (this one did, by the way) is that Trayvon Martin was a bad kid and deserved his fate. It’s that simple. That’s what the Zimmerman defense team is trying to do. Pollute the jury pool, prejudice their minds, cloud their judgment, when these lawyers know that none of this stuff is relevant to the killing of Martin and know that the judge wouldn’t allow it in as “evidence.” (Although it is possible they may get some of it in as “rebuttal,” I suppose, if the prosecutor makes some bad moves at trial.)

          I am surprised at your response, Herb, because, based on our past exchanges, I would have thought that the quality of your analysis was above average, beyond being fooled by a defense team desperate for a reason to explain why their client did not commit second-degree murder that sad day when he aggressively pursued Martin—for no reason other than his color and his dress—and ended up killing him without so much as knowing whether he had smoked marijuana or had gold teeth or had done anything worthy of being pursued by a would-be cop and then shot on the sidewalk. Their client thought Trayvon Martin was trouble. Thought he was up to no good. Thought, thought, thought. And that’s what the defense team wants those would-be jurors to think. That’s why they got this stuff out there knowing it wouldn’t fly with the judge.

          But I’m going to be honest with you, Herb. After reviewing all of your responses here related to this post, I don’t think it was the defense team’s tactics that fooled you. What fooled you, and what fools you still, is your thinking that you are immune from cultural or experiential roadblocks to clear thinking that we all have to some degree or another. Such roadblocks hinder all of us from time to time, especially on matters such as are involved in the Trayvon Martin case.

          Thus, you can’t see the big blind spot you have in terms of this case, my friend. But I think it is painfully, and I do mean “painfully,” obvious to the fair-minded reader who has enjoyed many of your past contributions.

          Duane

          Like

  2. ansonburlingame

     /  May 20, 2013

    Duane, (not Diane, that I mistyped in another comment),

    In the movie Look Who’s Coming to Dinner, Sydeny Portier said he did not think of himself (the character he represented) as a “black man” but rather as simply a “man”. King would applaud that sentiment as well, I suspect.

    The whole speech and your comments were filled with “black men” this or that. Take “black” out of the speech and comments and simply say “men and women, today” and the speech should resonate with ALL Americans, a thing Obama still has great difficulty doing.

    As for Herb’s comments above, yes Obama should “go there” as well but also into other cultural enclaves where the seeds of poverty and despair exist as well but very few black folks therein also.

    Anson

    Like

  3. ansonburlingame

     /  May 21, 2013

    I watch with interest the debate above between Herb and Duane over “black” stuff, yet ignoring my comments on “man” stuff, from long ago.

    PEOPLE should respect other people with RESPECT, period. And I mean ANY people, UNTIL they show they deserve NO respect.

    Duane always makes the case that anything GOP deserves little or no respect, period. I find that disgusting and comment accordingly. Some, like King B. or Jane Reaction, berate me all the time for my views and show real disrespect in doing so. Fine with me and I take it as part of political “combat”

    Now, if you can stomach it, consider my own blog on GENERATIONS. Even my liberal wife liked it!!! THAT is rare indeed.

    Kids today are far more “color blind” than any of us, or most of us, on this blog are, for sure. THEY will make progress in that direction, a far more color blind society than we have today. For US old timers, by and large to try to refight the Civi War, is, well blowing smoke up America’s ass to be sure, for today’s Americans.

    Anson

    Like

    • King Beauregard

       /  May 21, 2013

      Anson, you’re not dumb enough to believe what you believe. I mean that sincerely.

      Like

  4. ansonburlingame

     /  May 27, 2013

    To all,

    I hope this comment does not get overlooked at the end of this thread between Duane and Herb. It bears noting, in my view.

    Here is a direct quote from a comment posted, recently, on my own blog, the blog about the “Turner Case”, written and posted after the hearing, last Thursday.

    “Let’s say that there was a teacher who wrote on his blogs that they thought that jews were the literal spawn of Satan, that non-whites should be barred from immigration to this country and those already here expelled or killed, that Adolf Hitler was a great White man and that the Great Tribulation/Civil War II is absolutely necessary so that Whites may survive as a race. All of which beliefs — and then some even more radical — I hold. ”

    I assure you that comment tested, dramatically, my sense of free speech. Should I leave it there as a comment or take it down. I choose to leave it up, on my blog. You can read the following comments from me and others particularly others supposedly representing the Aryan Nation of Missiouri, an organization about which I know nothing.

    The comments became so viral that I received a direct written threat to do physical harm to me. I reported it the the Joplin Police Dept. and they will investigate both the senders of such comments and the organization which they claim to represent. I was told the FBI would be alerted as well.

    What Duane and Herb are arguing about, reasonably, is what free speech is all about, the kind of speech I wore a uniform for a while to protect, among other things. But I go a step farther and believe the hate speech quoted above and expressed further in my blog must be free as well.

    Anyone with any sense will not tolerate such claims as written. But censoring them is not the correct approach in my view. Give such speech the full light of the sun and let all read such crazy ideas is my call.

    How might you think this situation bears on the Martin Case? I offer the taped comments by the New Black Panther Party soon after the Martin Case went viral. I see NO difference in tone or attitude between the NBPP and the Aryan Nation of Missouri comment quoted above.

    For Duane and Herb to go back and forth on the Martin Case, above, is fine with me. As you can guess, I support Herb’s articulation of why he thinks the case is ……… I also would expect Duane to rise in defense of poor Treavor Martin in the manner he has done, a mistreated, maybe, young black man.

    No darkness lurks in those discussions for sure. But darkness on BOTH sides of racial matters exists and is virulent, again, from BOTH sides. Thinking one side is worse than the other ignores such virulence in my view.

    Anson

    Like

    • Anson,

      I don’t disagree, obviously, with your characterization of my exchange with Herb as “what free speech is all about.” Sure it is. That’s why we do this stuff. So we can talk to each other, argue with each other if necessary, and, from time to time, educate each other.

      But I have to take issue with the way you ended your comment:

      For Duane and Herb to go back and forth on the Martin Case, above, is fine with me. As you can guess, I support Herb’s articulation of why he thinks the case is ……… I also would expect Duane to rise in defense of poor Treavor Martin in the manner he has done, a mistreated, maybe, young black man.

      No darkness lurks in those discussions for sure. But darkness on BOTH sides of racial matters exists and is virulent, again, from BOTH sides. Thinking one side is worse than the other ignores such virulence in my view.

      I don’t “rise in defense” of Trayvon Martin because he is a “young black man.” I rise in defense of the judicial process, which should, finally, determine whether Zimmerman committed a crime when he shot Martin to death on that sidewalk. That’s what I support. That’s what I expect an American justice system to do, rather than have police determine who is guilty and not guilty or, God forbid, newspaper reporters or, uh, bloggers so determine.

      Finally, your reference to the New Black Panthers, as if they are some kind of powerful cultural force equal to white supremacists (in their many forms), is nonsense. They are not. They are not even bit players in anything going on culturally, except they do have a disproportionate representation on the Fox “New” Channel because some white conservatives try to make them more important than they are.

      Yes, there is “darkness” on both sides of this issue, just as there is hatred and bigotry on both sides of a lot of issues. But given our history, given the history of oppression of blacks by whites in our culture, it still amazes me that the largest amount of hatred and bigotry is found among white folks.

      Duane

      Like

  5. ansonburlingame

     /  May 29, 2013

    Fair enough, Duane, but……. (of course)!

    NBPP is a force of some form. I see them from time to time on many different TV channels, expressing their “views”. Are they “equal to” the White Supremacist Movement, I have no idea and really don’t care. But undoubtedly both sides are “black holes” in terms of darkness.

    As for your being color blind to the Martin Case, well that is a stretch in my view. Had Martin been a white kid I seriously doubt we would have ever heard of the case in the first place. NAACP, the black Congressional Caucse, etc. would NOT have been engaged.

    As well Herb’s insight into the case based on some family/friend insight shows that had it been a white on white, or even black on black situation, well “open and shut case” was his view and I agree with him.

    Anson

    Like

    • Ah, Anson:

      1) The NAACP is a “force.” It even has a chapter in our fair city. The NBPP, however, is not a force at all. (Go ahead and Google “New Black Panther Party” and “Joplin” and see what you find.) Unless the name Maulana Karenga (or as his mother first knew him, “Ron Everett,” rings a bell, I submit that the NBPP you only know through Fox and Fox-like sources, sources who want to promote the idea that there are lots of angry blacks out there with whom Barack Obama is loosely, or for some folks, not so loosely, associated. It’s sick shit as far as I’m concerned.

      2) I’m not claiming that I’m “color blind” as regards the Martin case. In fact, here’s what I wrote to you:

      I don’t “rise in defense” of Trayvon Martin because he is a “young black man.” I rise in defense of the judicial process, which should, finally, determine whether Zimmerman committed a crime when he shot Martin to death on that sidewalk. That’s what I support. That’s what I expect an American justice system to do, rather than have police determine who is guilty and not guilty or, God forbid, newspaper reporters or, uh, bloggers so determine.

      In case that’s not clear enough, what I am claiming is that the case should be handled through our judicial system and that the rules of evidence govern the proceedings. Then a jury will determine—the closet thing to “justice” in this case that we will get— the fate of the guy who shot a 17–year-old kid he was stalking. In fact, if you listen to the family and the family’s lawyer, that is what they are seeking, too.

      3) Sorry to say that you actually missed what you claim was Herb’s “insight.” Herb and his son’s friend’s (non) insight wasn’t that “had it been a white on white, or even black on black situation,” it would have been an “open and shut” case. No, no, no. What Herb was, unbelievably in my view, claiming was that the case is an open and shut case given the current circumstances. Go back and re-read what he actually wrote. If you still call that “insight,” I will forward you a link to a dictionary (even though, I know, you abhor “links”).

      4) Finally, I saw where you got hammered on your blog. Makes what happens to you here kind of sweet in comparison, now doesn’t it?

      Duane

       

      Like

  6. ansonburlingame

     /  May 29, 2013

    Herb said and I looked before writing my comment that the case, in the view of the officer in FL the case should have been open and shut with no charges against Zimmerman being at least the implication. Only when it became a “racial matter” were charges leveled. Had it been white on white or black on black, do you really think the case would have received such national attention.

    As for being hammered on my own blog, great I say. Let’r rip has always been my call. And you know as well as I do that the wolf pack is out to defend Turner, not matter what, period. I disagree and the wolf pack came to feed for sure. But I also held my own, in my view in rebutal, at least to the one’s that were sane in their objection to my position. I though Bb and Justin handled the situation pretty well, until the Aryan Nation showed its head and essentially shutdown future back and forth.

    That is why, by the way that I believe the Turner Case is so important, as a national issue, not just limited to Joplin. I am sorry you did not attend the hearing. We could have had an interesting discussion during breaks as the case evolved. And of course if you choose to write a blog on that case, well I suspect you will call for Turner’s return to the class room, the wolf pack will hear of it and you will be praised to high heaven.

    But I will add, about the wolf pack. Some of them actually testified in Turner’s defense. Yet not a single one of them so testifying had even read the statement of charges nor did they have the ability to say that any one of the charges was “wrong”. All they could do was be character witnesses for Turner based on……….? “Feeling” by and large with no substance, behind such feelings.

    There is NO WAY anyone can make a vaild judgment of the charges and evidence by simply reading a blog or even the Globe, at this point. Thankfully, the BOE is VERY seriously considering this matter and it will be another week or 10 days, in my view, before a judgment is reached and annouced by the BOE.

    My blog is only ONE perspective. Other than a few rants around here, I have yet to hear a different and reasoned perspective, yet. Unless of course you care to read the Turner Report? Ha!

    Anson

    Like

  7. Duane,

    Again? Really? Well it’s your blog so you can parse if you want to I suppose.

    Yes, I sent you some new information about Trayvon Martin. Not “evidence,” information. This is not inconsistent or contradicts the statement you quote from me about Zimmerman wanting to be a big-shot security guard and how that is totally irrelevant “as are all the other events leading up to the confrontation.” The information is merely a view of Martin that I hadn’t seen before and that I thought was pertinent to the discussion.

    A few pictures and text messages ARE NOT EVENTS! And they are TOTALLY irrelevant in terms of the legal process. In fact, what I said was, “At issue of course is who started punching who first. That would be illegal – an assault. It was apparent from witnesses (and from my source in Sanford) that Martin was beating the hell out of Zimmerman. Forensic photos of Trevon, the ones we’ve seen so far, show that his only injuries were to his fists. Witnesses also say Martin was on top of Zimmerman, apparently slugging away, and that is consistent with Zimmerman’s injuries. So, Zimmerman shoots in what I think most reasonable people looking at these same circumstances would call self-defense. And probably would if these two were both white or both black.”

    If you fail to see that description of events as reasonable, then it is you, Duane, who has the blind spot. In fact you wrote, “Yes, the fact that Travon Martin may have been beating Zimmerman is an issue, but it is not the only issue. Since we have previously discussed all this (including the “Stand Your Ground” law) at length in other posts, I won’t go into the details again.”

    Yes, other issues. Like race. You want this to be a civil rights case. Sure, sympathy for the black teenager. Makes it a whole lot easier to inject racism into the events than to try a relatively straight-forward self-defense case. You even say as much when you wrote, “The issue is whether the police or DA properly dismissed this case in the way that you think it should have been dismissed: as a simple case of a black kid beating up Zimmerman and Zimmerman defending himself. If only it were that simple.” Yes, Goddamn it, Duane, IT IS THAT SIMPLE.! And you accuse ME of not being able to think outside the box!

    You also write, “It’s nice that your deputy sheriff is free to play judge and jury on his own time, but he’s not legally entitled to do so as part of his official duties. That’s why we have courts, which are designed to find facts and attempt to get at the truth, as much of it as we can.”

    Well Duane, you’re pretty damn naive to think the police don’t determine who is guilty and not guilty. They do it routinely. Every day Don’t you find it a little strange that the local prosecutor, when presented with all the evidence, including, I suppose, the “new information” just released, decided not to file charges against Zimmerman, yet, a few months later, and only after the invasion of “civil right” leaders from the black community, he’s charged with second degree murder and the local prosecutor got replaced. And you don’t see that as racism? Wow!

    In another response to me on this topic, you exclaim, “You said, ‘critical thinking will sometimes take you to places you’d rather not go.’ Or not. Sometimes you just pick the place you want to go and then try to use your critical thinking to justify how you got there.” Right. Kinda like you’ve done in this discussion.

    But your last comment was too much: “But I’m going to be honest with you, Herb. After reviewing all of your responses here related to this post, I don’t think it was the defense team’s tactics that fooled you. What fooled you, and what fools you still, is your thinking that you are immune from cultural or experiential roadblocks to clear thinking that we all have to some degree or another. Such roadblocks hinder all of us from time to time, especially on matters such as are involved in the Trayvon Martin case.”

    What utter nonsense. I could just as easily turn that back on you. You’ve been fooled by your own altruistic worldview and your zealous allegiance to the civil rights movement. I am hopeful the courts will do as you wish and find the truth of this tragic event. But however it turns out, your side wins. George Zimmerman’s life is pretty much over.

    Herb

    Like

    • Herb,

      As the Horse God responsible for this particular horse, I will submit one last response on the topic before the horse finally, and mercifully, succumbs, so that he can be thoroughly, and unmercifully, beaten, if necessary.

      1. How deliciously ironic is the ending of your comment:

      …however it turns out, your side wins. George Zimmerman’s life is pretty much over.

      First, I don’t have a “side,” unless you say arguing for a court to adjudicate this matter is picking sides. In that case, I’m on the side of justice, however imperfect that concept is in human hands. I’m not looking for a conviction or an acquittal, only justice. And such justice is, or should be, based on the evidence admissible in court by rules, long established through trial and error, designed to get at the facts, not emotion.

      Second, your last gasp of exasperation on behalf of Mr. Zimmerman and his “pretty much over” life is touching, but breathtakingly ironic. If it turns out that Zimmerman goes free, then he has his life back, however he might be viewed by some members of the community. That’s more than Trayvon Martin has because, as you might recall, his life isn’t “pretty much” over, but completely over since, uh, he’s dead.

      And let’s remember that he’s dead because, as far as we know, he was defending himself from a guy who was stalking him and who he  likely perceived as a threat to his life. But we will never, I repeat, never, hear Martin’s side of this case, thanks to the gun that Zimmerman was authorized to carry by a dumb Florida law, and thanks to an even dumber Florida law—Stand Your Ground—which enabled a gun-toting Zimmerman to wield his weapon with some confidence that even if he provoked a fight with someone, someone like Trayvon Martin, he could “defend” himself lawfully with his pistol. I guess in saying that, Zimmerman is in some ways himself the (willing?) victim of two bad laws concocted by Republican gun zealots. (There is a similar case going on in Texas.)

      2. As far as the “information” you sent me, it was labeled as “evidence” in the story, and that is my point and that was the point of the defense leaking it to the press. And I still fail to see how the “information” was “pertinent to the discussion” (pertinent: “having a clear decisive relevance to the matter in hand”) since it had nothing, absolutely nothing, to do with what happened that night.

      3. Sure, “most reasonable people” would see it as self defense if a guy getting his head pounded into concrete responded with lethal force. Of course that’s true. But most reasonable people would also find it reasonable for Trayvon Martin, upon noticing a man following him, apparently stalking him for some reason, to feel threatened by such a man, and taking it upon himself to defend himself, too, Herb. Or is it only guys with guns, and guys who provoke fights, that get to defend themselves in Florida, when the fight they provoked turns out to be not such a good idea?

      And reasonable people would not just look at this case in the momentary vacuum of Zimmerman getting his head pounded against that concrete without also looking at what happened just prior to that. Even with the dangerous Stand Your Ground law, it matters what happens prior to someone standing his ground. And my point here is that is what courts ought to be for: getting to what happened, which means what happened prior to the fight on the concrete.

      4. Your point about me being “naive to think the police don’t determine who is guilt and not guilty” is, well, a little past silly. Guilt is a legal term in this context and police, while they may make decisions as to whether to issue citations or to initially charge someone with a crime, don’t get to ultimately determine guilt.

      And to think that the initial assessment by a local prosecutor should be the final word on any matter is itself naive. We had that sort of situation in the Old South when angry whites used to lynch black folks merely on suspicion or on emotion or otherwise without the due process of law and the local authorities tended to look the other way and not see any “crime” in the matter. Hopefully, we are way past that system of “justice” these days. We have things like federal civil rights laws that can override such local decisions, and thank God we do. The Old South-Jim Crow justice system is now gone. Or, hopefully is gone.

      That being said, the local authorities who first made the decision to not prosecute Zimmerman may have been acting in good faith. But so may be the authorities who overruled them. I will give both sets of authorities the benefit of the doubt.

      5. I suppose I could plead guilty to having a “zealous allegiance to the civil rights movement,” if by “civil rights movement” you mean the movement generally speaking—which began in the late 18th century—and not just the one related to black folks—which began sometime after the 18th century. In fact, I thought you also possessed a zealous allegiance to civil rights, too, Herb.

      6. Finally, as the horse takes his last breath, we have a note of agreement on this case. You said,

      I am hopeful the courts will do as you wish and find the truth of this tragic event.

      That is all I ask the courts to do. That, as far as I can tell, is all the family of Trayvon Martin is asking the courts to do. I have heard their lawyer speak of this many, many times. They seek a trial to get all the facts out there, which is what all of us should seek. As I said, I don’t want George Zimmerman convicted and I don’t want him acquitted. I want him to have justice. And in seeking that justice I want Zimmerman to have something he didn’t bother to give Trayvon Martin: the presumption of innocence.

      Duane, Horse God and now Master of Dead Horses

      Like

      • Duane,

        You are indeed the Horse God and now Master of Dead Horses. And I really appreciate your tolerance, patience and indulgence with respect to my commentary on this subject. You have certainly forced me to consider another point of view and to reconsider my own.

        I would go on, but I think I hear Taps being played in the background. They bury horses don’t they?

        Herb

        Like

        • Thanks, Herb. It’s been fun and educational, as far as I’m concerned. I continue to do this stuff partly because of times like this and folks like you.

          And by the way, for you mere mortals out there, it’s not Taps that I, the Master of Dead Horses, command to be played at the funerals of the fallen. It’s the following:

          Like

      • King Beauregard

         /  May 30, 2013

        I’ve tried to keep out of the blow-by-blow on this, but Duane said something that I’d like to express agreement on: if a court finds Zimmerman not guilty on all counts, fair enough, I respect verdicts, even when they go against what “everybody knows”. Just ask Fatty Arbuckle, or Richard Jewell, how far you can trust what “everybody knows”.

        I trust a jury of twelve to get more reliable information than you or I will; what they lose in terms of inadmissible statements and the like, they probably make up for in getting both sides of the story. I do know that we can’t trust the media to tell a story like this without turning it into theater, and the rush to tell the story results in a lot of sheer BS making it to the public.

        So, I hope George Zimmerman has his day in court, and is zealously defended. But I hope he is vigorously prosecuted as well, and that justice gets pressed out in the end.

        Like

        • King Beau,

          What a concise way of putting it: Zimmerman should be “zealously defended” while being “vigorously prosecuted.” That, my friend, is the way it is supposed to work. Bravo!

          Duane

          Like

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